The Big Cats of the World

Everyone has a dream! The thought of a personal accomplishment that drives them forward. A little something that sits in the back of your mind and ultimately influences your every decision. Some want to be rich and famous, others want to build a house, conquer the highest peaks, sail the seas or have a family…

My dream is to see as many of the Big Cat species in the world as possible. For a number of years this has driven many of my decisions: my career, my holidays, what television stations I watch and what books I read. I have a goal. I have determination! It is not necessarily the goal that is the important part for me, but more so the journey and the various adventures I must go through in order to get to the finish line. I am well aware that I have chosen quite a tricky finish line and this makes me all the more excited. The current big cat population numbers are extremely low, and globally the trend does not look good.

My dream has now escalated. Not only do I want to see all the big cats, but I want to make an active contribution to the conservation and preservation of these magnificent animals. I want to identify projects and programs that aim to increase numbers and discover areas that house healthy populations. I want to become a Big Cat Man!

There are about 36 cat species in the world which vary massively in size. The term ‘Big Cat’ is not of biological classification, but is used informally to separate the larger felids from the smaller ones. I have, through much research, come up with a personal Top Ten. These include: Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Snow Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Jaguar, Puma (Mountain Lion/Cougar), Amur Leopard and Iberian Lynx.

So far, thanks to the three remarkable lodges listed below, I have managed to take a couple of steps closer to realising this dream…ENJOY the pictures.

LEOPARD - photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
LEOPARD – photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
I love this picture. It shows just how beautiful these cats are. The huge paws, the formidable eyes and the exquisite power.
TIGER – photographed at Sher Bagh, India
CHEETAH - photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
CHEETAH – photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
JAGUAR - photographed at Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
JAGUAR – photographed at Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
LION - photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
LION – photographed at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

So that leaves me with:
Snow Leopard
Puma
Amur Leopard
Clouded Leopard
Iberian Lynx

Written and photographed by Adam Bannister
If anyone has an iPad and is interested in reading the digital book that I wrote entitled: The Lions of Londolozi, please click here for more information.

Links to the blogs of the various lodges mentioned:
Sher Bagh, India
Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil

3 thoughts on “The Big Cats of the World

  1. Adam,
    I have been in Londolozi and Ranthambore and have keenly followed your blogs and enjoyed your pictures. For the snow leopard you may want to consider the Dolpo area in Nepal, where I trekked and seen tracks of the snow leopard ( helas no leopard) and their main prey, blue sheep! ( in the footsteps of Peter Matthiessen!). Keep on dreaming! We love it!
    Jan-Erik

  2. Hi. Very nice article, I felt the passion you have! Maybe because I also persue the same dream and also want to contribute to conservation. Among all, the Amur leopard is going to be very difficult and it’s just a subspecies of leopard (maybe the most beautiful one I agree). The others are possible but extremely good preparation and luck will be involved.

    The tiger and leopard pictures you’ve presented are beautiful!

    Cheers,
    Julien

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